MATURIN, VENEZUELA STREET ART & GRAFFITI: PIG POLITIKS

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A cool painting of a pig. Beside him, is a blacked-out stencil of Capriles Rodonski, Hugo Chavez’s opponent in last year’s presidential election.

27JAN13. Maturin, Venezuela.

MATURIN, VENEZUELA STREET ART & GRAFFITI: “INNOCENCE AND FASCISM”

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Check it out! Someone defiled this Chavez stencil by coloring in a Hitler-esque mustache! Dangerous…

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Full wall perspective.

20JAN13. Maturin, Venezuela.

MATURIN, VENEZUELA: FOOD AND POLITICS

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Before we were able to get to a grocery store, we were taken to a bakery for breakfast. I got a coffee, cinnamon roll, and an apple. I was told that I was eating the most expensive fruit in Venezuela because apples are only imported.

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This woman’s face is everywhere because she is the governor of the state of Monagas and she is a Chavez loyalist. She just won the recent election in a close battle with the opposition.

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Still trying to find myself around the food here. I don’t have any spices like salt and pepper or anything, so on the weekend I made black beans, rice, and a scrambled egg with a strange mixture of mayo, mustard, and honey as a sauce, and wrapped it in a tortilla. So, “Jackie’s Bland Breakfast Burrito?”

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There he is again. We’re not really hearing anything about his current condition anymore.

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Taken to an outdoor market on Sunday. Like most markets of this kind around the world, especially Asia. The smell of fish permeates the atmosphere and reasonably priced fruits and vegetables can be purchased.

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Egg seller.

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Another bland dish i concocted: Black beans, rice, and sauteed eggplant with sliced bananas to give it a little sweetness. So, “Jackie’s Mad Maturin Mixture?”

13JAN13. Maturin, Venezuela.

CARACAS, VENEZUELA: VIVA CHAVEZ!

“Well, I’ve just walked in the door and haven’t processed what I just experienced yet. I’ll look through my pictures to try to tie it all together. Rather than take a taxi, I took the Metro. When I take an underground subway in a new city, I just know walking into it, that I’m going to need people’s help. And I always get it. I have yet to find a place in the world that doesn’t have kindhearted people willing to point my lost soul in the right direction. Happy to say Venezuela is no exception. Even if at first because they see me as an English speaker even if I’m speaking Spanish to them…they may give a gruff response, but then when we get to where I asked about, once they realized what I was asking…they MAKE SURE to point me in the right direction before we go our separate ways. I witnessed men and teenaged boys give up their seats to the elderly.
My intention was to go to Plaza Bolivar, but I ended up at the Capital complex and there was a HUGE demonstration of “Viva Chavez!” I couldn’t have asked for a better situation. I walked around and took pictures of the people waving flags, lighting candles, not minding at all having their pictures taken, sometimes posing for me if they realized it soon enough. I was walking and a man joined my pace. This was the conversation (I detected no malice, no condescension, no sarcasm, and yet I don’t believe he was being truthful):
Man: Where are you from?
Me: America. (realizing I shouldn’t say that because South, Central, and Latin are ALL Americas, too, and it’s considered offensive to them when U.S. citizens respond like that, so I switched my answer very quickly to…)
Me: United States.
Man: Where’s that?
Me: (taken aback by his question, but humbled immediately, I said…)
Above Mexico.
Man: Above Mexico?
Me: Yes (and we parted ways.)”

I wrote that earlier today on my Facebook page. Now that I’ve had time to look through my photos and do some research, it turns out I was in the middle of the National Assembly in progress. They were electing Diosdado Cabello, a staunch Chavez ally, to be the head of the government until Chavez comes back for his inauguration. Things are sketchy here, people. What is supposed to happen is, if Chavez doesn’t sign his inaugural declaration on January 10th, then his second-in-command will run the country for 30 days and after that time, there will be a whole new election. However, now the government is saying that January 10th isn’t really a deadline and they don’t necessarily have to abide by that and furthermore, Chavez will be the president from 2013 until 2019, that he will be back. The government goes on to to say that the most important thing is for the people to be told the absolute truth and that the president himself demands that the people get the complete truth. We’ll see how this all unfolds… Here’s what I saw today:

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5JAN13. Caracas,Venezuela